Ranking Member on the Finance Committee in Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, has observed that the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government is riddled with inconsistency, over projections, and does not address the challenges of the economy.
These, he said, cast a slur on the budget in the eye of the country’s development partners and the general financial market.
According to Dr Forson, who is the NDC MP for Ejumako/Enyan/Essiam Constituency, the government’s projection to raise GHC80 billion in revenue, a 45 per cent increment of the 2021 target of GHC55 billion – GHC25 billion in nominal terms – was unrealistic and could further throw the economy out of gear.
Contributing to the debate on the budget in Parliament on Tuesday, Dr Forson, a former Deputy Minister of Finance, said his observations stemmed from the government’s own document before the House.
Per the budget, government intends to raise GHC7 billion from the E-Levy, GHC700 million from the reintroduced benchmark values and growth of about seven per cent in Ato Forson’s view which could bring in about GHC2.5 billion.
All this added up, he said, would amount to about GHC13 billion, GHC12 billion short of the GHC25 billion projections.
“Mr Speaker, per the estimations of the budget statement, our revenues has been over projected by at least GHC10 billion representing two per cent of our GDP. Honourable Members, where is the credibility of this government?
“This budget is the most inconsistent budget I have ever seen,” he stated.
The second unrealistic projection Dr Forson noted in the budget is government’s target to raise GHC18 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.
He said for the first three quarters of the year, government raised tax revenue of GHC37.1 billion, averaging GHC12.3 billion per quarter.
Noting that seasonality do contribute to a higher tax in the fourth quarter, the increment had only been 20 per cent over the years, and not the 50 per cent government was aiming in the quarter.
“Mr Speaker, this budget is not credible. It is full of inconsistencies, unacceptable estimations, and unrealistic projections. This government is not taking the right prescriptions to address the challenges in the economy.
“I am sad that this government is rather worsening the economic sickness of this country. The situation is appalling and should not be accepted.”
In his view, contrary to government communication that the budget seeks to address recurring challenges of the economy, it would rather compound what he said was the already excruciating hardship Ghanaians were going through.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI